1.5.23 – What is Long COVID?

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. A lot of people think of COVID as a short term illness, but it can also cause long-lasting symptoms, which is known as long COVID. Today we’re going to talk about long COVID.

What is Long COVID?
Long COVID, also called post-COVID conditions, refers to a range of long term effects after being infected with COVID. While most people with COVID recover in a few days or weeks, some people may experience lingering or new symptoms at least 4 weeks after infection that can’t be explained by another cause.

What are some of the symptoms of long COVID?
There are a wide range of symptoms that people with long COVID can experience. Here are a few of the more common symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Headache
  • Pins-and-needles feelings
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety

If you have these or any other unexplained symptoms more than a month after a COVID infection, see your healthcare provider.

Is there a test that can tell me if I have Long COVID?
There is no test to diagnose long COVID. People have a wide variety of symptoms that could come from other health problems which can make it difficult to recognize long COVID. Your healthcare provider can evaluate you for long COVID based on your symptoms, testing, and whether you had COVID.

Is there a treatment for Long COVID?
Currently, treatment is focused on improving symptoms and quality of life. Your healthcare provider can develop a care plan specific to your conditions. There are also centers focused on caring for people with long COVID and that can also be an option for care.

Is there a way to prevent Long COVID?
You can reduce your chances of getting long COVID by getting your COVID vaccine and staying up to date on your COVID boosters.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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